I was working on an email campaign and thought I’d share my list of things that I check prior to throwing the switch for my campaign. A mistake in the email content is a mistake multiplied by the number of subscribers on one’s list.
Build and follow a checklist. Even though I’ve been in sales and marketing for over twenty years, I frequently work off of check lists because, often, that’s all it takes to get something right the first time. Check lists are an easy way to make certain that nothing’s overlooked between the start of the campaign and roll-out.
As we say in Britain, the proof is in the pudding. I test and proof as I go. That way I don’t get too far ahead of myself if something isn’t working properly. Proof your email campaign copy and design, then go grab a Starbucks. Stepping away from your work and taking a break lets you re-approach your masterpiece with a fresh set of eyes. When reading we’re wired to naturally skip over common words, so read every word aloud to make certain you don’t skim over errors and typos. Having one or two people less familiar with your campaign review it for clarity is a good idea. They’ll highlight things that won’t be clear to your subscriber.
Get the Promotion Right! Check pricing, payments, terms, and disclosures very, very carefully. Ultimately you’re responsible for what goes out. If someone hands you any type of financial computations or figures, check their math, or have someone else check it. Check pricing in your email carefully against any prices you’ve been given. Always have a second person check behind you. You don’t want to run a campaign offering something at the wrong price or terms.
Who, What, When, Where, Why. What’s your strategy for having the subscriber get more information or contact you? Whatever it is, be sure to provide the method and means in your email piece. Keep in mind that people will view your email on their Smartphone, so if you’re sending them to your weekend sale or event, give them the details in the piece, including the address so that they can link to your address on their Smartphone.
Run spell checker. While spell checker can’t distinguish the difference between their and there, or right and write, it helps to ensure that there are no typos.
Mind your grammar. If you don’t know when to use a comma, semi-colon, and all the other punctuation marks, find someone who does. There are programs that check your grammar, but they aren’t perfect. People tend to drop commas all over the place. Don’t. Generally, things will read better with a comma missing than reading with too many. (If in doubt, leave it out.)
View both HTML and Plain Text versions. If you replicated an old email blast, check for errors in both the HTML and plain text versions. Sometimes text doesn’t copy over precisely the way we intended.
Test and check images. Make certain your image opens and views in the email as intended. If it isn’t viewing properly, check to make certain it was properly uploaded and saved; if you’re using absolute paths for images, make certain that you have the whole image URL, not just the file location on your server. (Password protected servers won’t work for storing your images. Your picture needs to be stored on a public server.)
Proof for template errors. If you are using an online template from one of the mail houses, be sure to cut any default template copy or unused icons from your email.
Test Merge Tags. Send your campaign to a test list to make certain your merge tags are correct and that your database is properly set up and working.
Test Links. Make certain that all of your HTML links work. These are the links, for example, that drive people over to your web site, link them to your Twitter account, send them over to Like you on Facebook, etcetera.
Test before sending. I test to a google account, a Yahoo account, and a few others just check and see how my email will view with the major email providers. I also look at my campaign on a couple of different PCs because not everyone has a Mac with awesome graphics.
Obviously there’s a lot to building a successful email campaign, but getting the email designed properly without errors is often the biggest step. I’ve given away a lot of free good advice and tips in these posts about building promotions and using email campaigns. Dig around. Get some ideas. Brainstorm. Then let me know how you did and what you think.
Good luck and happy marketing!
Deborah Fisher is an award-winning top-selling producer in both B2B and B2C industries as well as a leading, award-winning marketer in a highly competitive industry. Based in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, she specializes in helping clients develop sustainable sales and marketing strategies and tactics to achieve Client goals.